In the year 1931, James Truslow Adams used the word “American Dream” in his book “The Epic of America”. The book deals largely with how USA came to be and how the USA’s Founding Fathers set down the principles associated with, what Adams calls, The American Dream.
The idea of the American Dream is rooted in the United States Declaration of Independence which proclaims that “all men are created equal” and that they are “endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights” including “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
The American Dream, Adam argues, is not the chase of money and material. He believed that the American Dream was greater than that. He believed that The Dream was a pursuit of rights and freedom. Of personal growth and development. Where all people may express themselves fully and grow continuously, till only their innate capacity limits them.
Adam further argues that, this is The Dream which pulled many million people into the west. People came from everywhere, from Europe where the lands were ruled by the dominating Monarch and the Aristocrat. From Russia, where Terror still reigned. From the arabian and egyptian plains, where the kings ruled in ultra-conservationist methods, denying to people many basic rights.
Today though, we may say that a vast majority of the world has come to realize the American Dream.
The overall realization of that dream came, when on December 10th, 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted by the UN General Assembly.
I now point to Article 18 and 19 of the UDHR.
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.
These two are what I believe to be freedom of the mind. The UN has acknowledged that. The Democracies of the world have acknowledged that. But the problem still lies in people. Within us. Within the brain of the common man.
There are four kinds of people on this basis.
- Those who are scared to practice individualism and freethought.
- Those who practice individualism and freethought.
- Those who hinder the practice of individualism and freethought with concern for what is commonly considered to be ethical, social and conventional reasoning.
- Those who hinder the practice of individualism and freethought in order to influence others with their own thoughts and opinion.
Individualism is very, very often connected and/or confused with egoism. Among the differences between the two, the prime differentiating factor lies in the fact that individualism respects oneself and the individualism of others also, while egoism places one’s self-interest at the centre of their morality.
Freethought is the right for everyone to practice their own belief on their basis. The basis for freethought is most usually agreed to be logic and reason derived from one’s own information and knowledge. Tradition, Convention and Social Dogmas are considered to be factors contradictory to Freethought.
I believe otherwise. I believe that Freethinking, by itself, is a means to practice individualism. And Individualism, in its essence, is a practice of independence and self-reliance which asserts that an individual may accord to any means he sees fit to achieve his goal.
And so, if one sees fit to follow convention or to fall prey to the influence of social stigma, he may do so.
Individualism should be practiced by all. It would lead to a happier society. A society where people would respect each other and not fight for the general establishment of what seems to be the truth in their perspective.
I will not run anyone’s life nor let anyone run mine.
I will not rule nor be ruled.
I will not be a master nor a slave.
I will not sacrifice myself to anyone nor sacrifice anyone to myself.
“Remember, You are unique. Just like everyone else.”